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Flag faux pas in Montreal: Model is not to blame

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Checkered flag too early in Montreal
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D he race in Montreal bobbed into the last laps only there. The fact that Sebastian Vettel was shown the checkered flag one lap before reaching the intended distance of 70 laps had nothing to do with the boring event. The checkered scarf was accidentally waved a lap too early by Canadian model Winnie Harlow. According to the rules, the stand was therefore rated after round 68.

In the paddock, it was then discussed whether it should not be better to leave the job to the experts. “We didn't hire models as marshals or FIA commissioners, did we?” Joked Force India sporting director Otmar Szafnauer. The scene was reminiscent of soccer star Pele, who was assigned to waving the flag in Brazil in 2002. At that time, the local hero missed his mission. In Montreal, the lady was too early - as was the last time at the Chinese GP in 2014, when a local marshal took action early.

Communication error among the officials

'It was the same here Problem like 2014 in China. It was simply a communication error, ”explained race director Charlie Whiting afterwards. “The model was given the order to wave too soon. So the lady is not to blame. ”A representative of the local motorsport club was responsible for the sign. “He asked the race management whether the race was already on the last lap. But the race management did not understand that as a question, but as a statement - and answered with okay. “

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Model Winnie Harlow posed with the checkered flag for the photographers before the race.

Whitingcalled it an annoying mistake that shouldn't have happened. However, the Brit could not rule out the possibility of repetition: “Wherever people work, mistakes can happen. We have different communication systems and different languages ​​on all routes. At most, one could consider abolishing the traditional flag and introducing another symbol for the end of the race. For example, you could automatically import the signal onto the LED boards. But you would first have to develop a system and clarify when and how it is activated. That would be a very big expense for a problem that practically only occurs every 10 years. ”

Whiting was relieved that the error had no consequences. Only Daniel Ricciardo was angry because the Australian's fastest race lap, which was set shortly before the end, was denied. It was canceled and Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen was credited. A premature end of the race last had bigger consequences in 1985. At that time Jacques Laffite and Dereck Warwick were left behind on the last lap. Because of the faulty checkered flag, the two were nevertheless classified in 3rd and 5th place.

The race management did not warn the driver

Sebastian Vettel, however, noted that the situation was not entirely safe: ' I saw on the steering wheel and the pit board that there was still one lap to drive. I also saw the television picture on the screen that said “Last Lap”. I was instructed by radio to continue to drive at full throttle. But some marshals have already waved their flags in greeting. I was afraid that someone would run onto the track while we were still racing at racing pace. '

Whiting was also critical of the situation:' The Marshalls must have seen the checkered flag and thought that the race was over be. It was effectively over, but I can understand that the drivers did not get the instruction from their teams to slow down. ”In the heat of the moment, the race management did not make use of the opportunity to talk directly to everyone Engage drivers and ask them to slow down. 'To avoid even more confusion, we preferred to let the race go on,' explained Whiting.

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